Q: Where are you from, originally?
A: A cute little suburb outside of Houston, Texas. For certain values of "cute". The locals can be pretty homogenous.
Q: Where do you go to school?
A: I am a rising second year undergraduate student at Georgia Tech, in Atlanta, Georgia. However, for the next academic year (2012-2013), I'll be studying abroad with an exchange program at Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) in Daejeon, South Korea. Here's a picture:
Q: What do you study?
A: I'm pursuing a B.S. in Nuclear and Radiological Engineering, with a minor in Korean.
Q: Phew. How did you decide on that combination?
A: I find quantum theory to be rather beautiful--how the world is composed of things we can never fully observe and know. Likewise, there's a lot of poetry in the power and potential that man can unleash within the bonds of an atom, and I want to see mankind do the great (non-destructive) things with that power. As far as studying Korean goes, I really wanted a global aspect to my education, and South Korea is planning to almost double its nuclear power generation by 2030, according to the World Nuclear Association, so it seemed like a good location to study in my field. In addition, there are many nuclear-relevant issues surrounding North Korea, and perhaps it's my Western bias, but I feel very strongly about the human rights situation in the DPRK.
Q: And what do you plan on doing with that?
A: I'll take what I can get, I guess. I tend to flip-flop between nuclear energy and nuclear forensics. Working for the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA) would probably be my dream gig.
Q: So, South Korea. A whole year, huh? What made you decide to go there?
A: A global education is something I really desired out of college. With my major, I don't have too many options as far as studying abroad goes, and South Korea seemed like the best one. Also, being a legal resident of Texas, I'm an out-of-state student at Georgia Tech. And Georgia Tech has a policy that out-of-state students who study abroad pay in-state tuition, so it's a lot cheaper for me to study abroad. Thus, I'm trying to maximize the time I spend not paying full tuition. Also, cultural immersion, and all that jazz.
Q: Where will you be living while you're over there?
A: In dorm-style housing with a (presumably) Korean roommate.
Q: Do you actually speak Korean?
A: 저는 조금 한국 말해요. I speak it better than I understand it, and read it better than anything. I can get by in an airport, market, or a school. And I can hit on people. You know, basic survival skills.
Q: Political views?
A: Depends on the issue. Big fan of universal education, women's rights, and marriage equality. Still sorting out my feelings fiscally, and regarding healthcare and foreign policy. I change my mind a lot, and understand that what works for one country may or may not work for another.
Q: Religious views?
A: As far as my view on religion, I think a lot of good comes out of it. It's a lot easier for people to ascribe to a pre-defined moral code, than to analyze everything for themselves. It often brings hope, community, and instills a sense of purpose. However, a lot of bad comes from it, as well--war, alienation of outsiders. That said, it is arguably the best societal manipulator, whether for good or for bad. Regarding my personal theological understanding, I'm a theological nocognitivist. I don't feel like explaining, so I'll just link to a wikipedia article--for lack of a more succint description, I'm agnostic. However, I try not to broadcast this too much, as my family is very strongly Protestant Christian, and I try to be respectful as possible of the beliefs of others, particularly those of my parents (I personally find the broadcasting of my own beliefs to be detrimental to the beliefs of others, as I do not feel that the knowledge that led to my belief system has benefitted me socially or psychologically, and I do not wish to spread that information to those who are less confident in the derivation of their belief system). The only time I would take issue with a belief system is if it resulted in the subjugation of other human beings, as that is in misalignment with my personal moral code. Jeez, I wrote more on that subject than I intended.
Q: What kind of music do you like to listen to?
A: Oh, gosh, I can't even put a finger on specific genres, so I'll just list a few artists. Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Belle and Sebastian, Moneybrother, Sex Pistols, Marty Robbins, First Aid Kit, Frank Turner, Josh Ritter, Sinead O'Connor, Roisin Murphy, Dengue Fever, Grandaddy, Fats Domino, Simon and Garfunkel, Eliza Dolittle, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Paolo Nutini, Joanna Newsom.
Q: Favorite book?
A: My favorite grown-up book would probably be The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. But as a kid, I loved Frank L. Baum's Wizard of Oz series. Also, Anne of Green Gables, because redheads.
Q: Favorite movie?
A: I'd have to go with Forrest Gump. Also a big fan of The Princess Bride, Memoirs of a Geisha, and anything Mel Brooks. Generally do not like sequels or series. Especially Star Wars. Don't really like Star Wars. *cringes from inevitable criticism of taste*
Q: And as far as television shows go?
A: Lately, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. Also a big fan of Doctor Who from Eccleston forth, Star Trek (original series, plz), and Monty Python's Flying Circus.
Q: Any wicked talents?
A: I wish. I'm a fairly decent pianist, and crazy skilled at MS Paint. Also, apparently I'm pretty speedy at counting change. You know, speedy change-counting would be a horrible super power.
Q: Seeing anyone?
A: Heh. No, and I'm not really looking to. Just got out of a pretty awesome, if brief, relationship. Long distance puts a damper on things, and I'm more of the lone ranger type.